By The Associated Press

Saban: Alabama players embrace expectations
JOHN ZENOR,AP Sports Writer

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — Nick Saban says his Alabama players relish the high expectations, but offers a caveat.

He points out that the Crimson Tide must replace four NFL first-round draft picks at prominent positions and quarterback Greg McElroy.

Nevertheless, Alabama was picked to win the SEC and is regarded as one of the favorites to win a national title. All that talk, Saban says, “means nothing.”

The Tide had five defenders picked to earn first-team preseason All-SEC honors by league media, along with running back Trent Richardson and offensive lineman Barrett Jones.

Saban noted that other teams in the SEC have just as many returning starters and have their quarterbacks back.

Phillip Sims and A.J. McCarron will challenge for the starting job in preseason camp.


New coach Franklin sees advantages at Vanderbilt

HOOVER, Ala. — For decades, poor ol’ Vanderbilt has usually been the doormat of the Southeastern Conference, hindered by its meager fan base and high academic standards.

New coach James Franklin isn’t feeling sorry for his program.

The 39-year-old was confident during his first address at SEC Media Days on Friday, saying Vanderbilt has several recruiting advantages if it uses them properly. Franklin also said his team has several good players, but “we just don’t have enough of them.”

The rebuilding project won’t be easy. The Commodores have finished with a 2-10 record in each of the past two seasons and have several holes to fill on both sides of the ball.

Click video to hear audio